Human Rights in Cuba

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The Day I Asked Forgiveness from Huber Matos / Camilo Venegas
Posted on February 28, 2014

For years I tried to imagine his face, but it didn’t appear anywhere. He
had been erased from the national history with meticulous cruelty. They
airbrushed him out, even in one of the most iconic images of the
Revolution, the one where he and Camilo Cienfuegos accompany Fidel on
top of a Jeep, during the victorious entry into Havana.

In the middle of the last decade, Huber Matos was visiting Santo Domingo
and they invited me to a meeting with the heroic commander. He was
already a fragile cornflower, but kept intact his stature and his
strength. When we shook hands he pressed mine firmly. I felt gripped by
the bones in his hands.

It was hard for me to ask for the floor, I was intimidated by his glance
and the weight of the history he carried on his shoulders. “I would just
like to ask your forgiveness, commander,” I said to him. Then I told him
of the hatred I had felt for him as a child. “To my generation they
instilled in us that you were a traitor to the fatherland and
responsible for the disappearance of Camilo [Cienfuegos].”

He stood up and gave me a hug. Again I felt myself gripped. “Thank you,
son,” he said, very moved, almost in my ear. Although they couldn’t
shoot him, they assassinated his reputation, which is the most cowardly
method has used to annul his adversaries. Because of this
the young people in my country know very little about one of the bravest
leaders of the Revolution.

The man who died today was one of the first Cubans who warned that that
popular feat would turn itself into a shameful dictatorship. The day
when history can tell it like it was, Huber Matos will once again climb
up on that Jeep from which he never should have been removed. Then,
without erasing anyone else, it will be perfectly clear who betrayed whom.

Camilo Venegas from his El Fogonero

27 February 2014

Source: The Day I Asked Forgiveness from Huber Matos / Camilo Venegas |
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